Once again, Central America’s ugly little sister is back in the news. El Comandante, President Hugo Chavez succumbed to cancer last week and the country is in a prolonged state of mourning while the world watches. He was 58.
I am not very astute concerning world affairs and as far as politics go, let’s see, how do I put this? I don’t give a rat’s ass. So it’s not surprising that I often get Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan President mixed up with Cesar Chavez, the migrant worker activist, along with Victor Hugo, the French author or Julio Cesar Chavez, the world class boxer.
While citizens of Venezuela grieve many of them were silently opposed to Chavez’ style of government and his attempts at holding the world hostage with his oil exports and stand-up comedy. His list of BFF’s included Fidel Castro and Iranian court jester and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. You don’t want to know who I get that guy mixed up with.
But any anti-American leader who dies and has actor Sean Penn and Rev. Jesse Jackson show up at his funeral deserves some attention.
So Venezuelans filing past his open coffin after waiting for hours returned to their homes and asked themselves, “Lo que para la cena?” Or, “What’s to eat?”
Venezuela’s location in the world offers up varieties of cuisine that has influences from Western Europe, Africa and North America. So we are talking about a lot of corn, rice, yams, beans and some meat or fish. Sure, you can venture in to the Amazon region and sample tapir, yucca cactus, monkey or deep-fried ants but mainstream Venezuelan food is pretty standard stuff.
2 Cups Cornmeal
Pinch of Salt
1 Tsp. Garlic Powder
1 Tsp. Baking Powder
2 Cups Boiling water
1 Cup Shredded Mexican Cheese Blend
Combine all the dry ingredients, including the cheese in a mixing bowl. Add boiling water and stir. Add eggs and mix well. Knead dough and form in to a ball. Flattens balls and fry until golden brown.
To serve, split the Arepas and fill the shells with meat, cheese, tuna or sausage.
Acting President and former Chavez stooge Nicolas Madura announced last Thursday that the government will embalm El Presidente for permanent display ala Vladimir Lenin. Taxidermists from the world are being called in for consultation on the project.
2 Carrots, Diced
2 Celery Stalks, Chopped
1 Red Onion, Chopped
2 Lbs. Skirt Steak, Sliced
1 Bay Leaf
1 Roasted Red Bell Pepper, Sliced
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
Sea Salt/Freshly Ground Black Pepper
In a large Dutch oven sweat the carrots, celery and onion in olive oil for 5 minutes. Season the steak and brown the meat on both sides. Add enough water to cover, bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Cover and simmer for 1 hour.
Remove the meat and veggies, drain the liquid and sauté the red pepper and garlic in olive oil for 2 minutes. Return meat and veggies to the pot and warm through.
Serve with black beans and rice garnished with cilantro and queso fresco.
But all is not calm in this saddened country. Opposition leader Henrique Capriles has announced he will run in the upcoming elections against the dead President and acting puppet Nicolas Madura. No word yet on whether former GOP hopeful Mitt Romney will announce his candidacy for the vacancy.
Sources confirm that Venezuela has contacted Florida election official from 2000 to oversee the voting.
Viva La Revolución!